Watch out – deer

STEER CLEAR OF RUT­TING STAGS – WARN­ING SENT TO DOG WALK­ERS AND VIS­I­TORS TO RICH­MOND PARK

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

SELFIE-AD­DICTS, pho­tog­ra­phers and dog walk­ers have been warned to steer well clear of the deer in Rich­mond Park while they rut.

Dog-walk­ers have even been warned to avoid the park en­tirely this au­tumn, as the deer are cur­rently “highly ag­gres­sive”.

The stags are bat­tling out to be the al­pha males in the herd in or­der to be seen as the most at­trac­tive mate by the does in the park.

And it is feared that hu­mans could get caught in the cross­fire.

The Royal Parks have is­sued a warn­ing for the sea­son, after a woman was gored by a deer in Oc­to­ber last year, suf­fer­ing in­juries to her thigh and ab­domen in the maul­ing.

Male deer are in­volved in rut­ting ev­ery au­tumn. It is a phys­i­cal means of at­tract­ing as many fe­males as pos­si­ble.

Fal­low bucks and red stags are known to roar, bark and clash antlers in an at­tempt to fight off ri­vals and as­sert their dom­i­nance.

Rut­ting sea­son usu­ally runs from Septem­ber un­til Novem­ber in the UK, dur­ing which time the male deer are at a testos­terone peak.

How­ever, these high testos­terone lev­els are known to make the an­i­mals “highly” ag­gres­sive.

The ad­vice from the Royal Parks states that Rich­mond Park’s 600 deer and Bushy Park’s 300 deer should be steered well clear of.

Royal Parks have warned vis­i­tors to Rich­mond and Bushy parks to “al­ways keep at least 50 me­tres away from the deer”.

The ad­vice also tells the park users, who range from mums and tod­dlers and horse rid­ers to wildlife pho­tog­ra­phers, never to touch the deer, which it re­minds us all are wild an­i­mals and not pets.

Park users are also be­ing told never to photograph the deer at close range, in­stead us­ing a long range lens.

They also ad­vise that pho­tos be taken ei­ther in the early morn­ing or on week­days, when the park is less busy.

Fi­nally, park-go­ers are also warned never to get in be­tween two deer dur­ing the rut­ting sea­son.

Adam Cur­tis, as­sis­tant park man­ager for Rich­mond Park, said: “We is­sue this ad­vice for the well­be­ing of our deer and park vis­i­tors.

“Deer can be­come stressed and be­have un­pre­dictably if they feel threat­ened by dogs or have hordes of peo­ple stand­ing close by try­ing to take pic­tures.”

It’s not just hu­mans that are un­der threat, with dog own­ers also told that male deer have been known to at­tack dogs be­hav­ing in a “provoca­tive man­ner”, as they can feel threat­ened.

Dog-walk­ers have been told to try to avoid Rich­mond and Bushy parks en­tirely dur­ing the rut­ting sea­son.

If they do feel the need to visit the parks they are asked to en­sure their dogs are on a leash at all times.

They are also asked to con­sider us­ing an al­ter­na­tive route, along the outer wall of the park, where they are close to the gates.

If a deer does give chase, you are ad­vised to let go of the leash to al­low the dog to run away, with the deer un­likely to give chase in these cir­cum­stances.

Sim­i­lar con­di­tions oc­cur ev­ery sum­mer, from May to July, dur­ing the deer’s birthing sea­son.

Deer clash in Rich­mond Park

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